So I said I was going to be in Vermont for the weekend, but NO.
Bad omens abound.
We mean to leave my parents' house at 8 am. But, my sainted mother tries to foist off two 12" quiches she is defrosting onto my family. We wait around until 9:00 while the cold, greasy, heavy affairs melt a little in the oven. Finally we leave with two semi-crylstallized pies, made with about 8 pounds of gruyere cheese, a dozen eggs and a pound of Italian sausage. The smell from these potential biological weapons is difficult to take and my stomach starts to get all wobbly.
Thankfully I'm behind the wheel and therefore insulated from the road movement. Not so the rest of our small party: Julia and Dinah start whining, complaining of delicate stomachs nearly immediately. Five minutes into the first stage of our ascent and trouble already. If not careful, we'll never make it to the summit before nightfall sets in and along with it, sub-zero temperatures...
Twenty-five minutes into a five-hour drive from NYC to Rochester, we get hit with a freak blizzard that drops about an inch of snow on the road. This makes seeing difficult, so we have to pull over briefly. The snow lets up just as suddenly as it began, so we quickly move on.
45 minutes into the attempt, and the WQXR signal konks out as we hit the Catskill highlands. Kathy searches frantically for a radio station. Finally, she raises a Polka show out of a small station in Ulster County. The "Beer Barrel Polka" alternates between blaringly loud and just barely audible due to the signal popping in and out as we thread our way among the gullies and peaks.
One hour and nine minutes into the drive my youngest dd Dinah starts to wail, cry and complains she's car sick. We allow her to open up her window. Doing 65 mph in 27-degree air helps Dinah, but makes everyone else cold as a witch's tit. Jimmy Stur's polka band plays a wonderfully peppy number from Slovenia.
Eight minutes later, a distressed Dinah vomits up popcorn and apple juice into her heavy winter coat.
We stop in Kingston long enough for her to get some Benadryl, Pepto and a half a Dramamine into her. A few minutes later, she asks for a turkey sandwich. Sitting, miserable, in a Blimpie, we feed the kids and contemplate our next moves. Then we pack the kids up - dressed in fresher clothes.
By the time all this has happened, its 1:30 p.m. Only a quarter of the way there, we realize we are licked. We turn around and spend the rest of the day getting back to base camp, our party frostbitten, foul smelling and in a fouler mood. The climb was just too much for us.
Next time, I'm bringing a goddamn sherpa.